Economics, EQ, and Finance: the Next Frontier in Legal Education
65 Journal of Legal Education 864 (2016)
34 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2016
Date Written: 2016
This article discusses data collected in 2014 – 2015 through a survey of associate deans at 91 of 202 accredited law schools in the United States and through an analysis of course and program descriptions, syllabi, mission statements, and testimonials on the websites of all U.S. accredited law schools to determine whether, and how, law schools cover the following three subjects: 1) economic factors that shape the legal profession, (2) principles of emotional intelligence (EQ) relevant to the practice of law, such as using one’s strengths, managing stress, maintaining balance in one’s personal and professional life, and developing resiliency for life’s challenges; (3) training in personal financial management adequate to manage a career characterized by constant change and for almost ninety percent of students, significant educational debt. Almost three-fourths of law schools report coverage of economic trends in the legal profession, almost half of schools report coverage of EQ skills relevant to practice of law, and less than half of schools report coverage of personal financial management principles. This article highlights dozens of curricular and ancillary programs at specific schools throughout the legal academy that show the range of programs addressing these topics. This article argues that as the sole portal to the legal profession, the legal academy is morally and pedagogically obligated to provide competency in these topics and that the approach currently taken by many law schools is inadequate to meet this obligation. Building on the exciting efforts ongoing at many law schools, this article provides specific suggestions on how law schools can prepare the lawyers of tomorrow for the profession they are entering.
Keywords: Legal academy, economic trends in law, legal education, emotional intelligence, debt of students, financial planning
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